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I rejoice that you have undertaken the task of comparing the moral doctrines of Jesus with those of the ancient Philosophers. You are so much in possession of the whole subject, that you will do it easier and better than any other person living. I think you cannot avoid giving, as preliminary to the comparison, a digest of his moral doctrines, extracted in his own words from the Evangelists, and leaving out everything relative to his personal history and character. It would be short and precious. With a view to do this for my own satisfaction, I had sent to Philadelphia to get two testaments (Greek) of the same edition, and two English, with a design to cut out the morsels of morality, and paste them on the leaves of a book, in the manner you describe as having been pursued in forming your Harmony. But I shall now get the thing done by better hands.

I very early saw that Louisiana was indeed a speck in our horizon which was to burst in a tornado; and the public are unapprized how near this catastrophe was. Nothing but a frank and friendly development of causes and effects on our part, and good sense enough in Bonaparte to see that the train was unavoidable, and would change the face of the world, saved us from that storm. I did not expect he would yield till a war took

I place between France and England, and my hope was to palliate and endure, if Messrs. Ross, Morris, &c. did not force a premature rupture, until that event. I believed the event not very distant, but acknowledge it came on sooner than I had expected. Whether, however, the good sense of Bonaparte might not see the course predicted to be nece sary and unavoidable, even before a war should be imminent, was a chance which we thought it our duty to try; but the immediate prospect of rupture brought the case to immediate decision. The denoument has been happy; and I confess I look to this duplication of area for the extending a government so free and economical as ours, as a great achievement to the mass of happiness which is to en

Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children and descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty and the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power.


Have you seen the new work of Malthus on population ? It is one of the ablest I have ever seen. Although his main ob

I ject is to delineate the effects of redundancy of population, and to test the poor laws of England, and other palliations for that evil, several important questions in political economy, allied to his subject incidentally, are treated with a masterly hand. It is a single octavo volume, and I have been only able to read a borrowed copy, the only one I have yet heard of. Probably our friends in England will think of you, and give you an opportunity of reading it. Accept iny affectionate salutations, and assurances of great esteem and respect.


Washington, February 1, 1804. DEAR SIR-I have to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter, and with it, of two very interesting volumes on Political Economy. These found me engaged in giving the leisure moments I rarely find, to the perusal of Malthus' work on population, a work of sound logic, in which some of the opinions of Adam Smith, as well as of the economists, are ably examined. I was pleased, on turning to some chapters where you treat the same questions, to find his opinions corroborated by yours. I shall proceed to the reading of your work with great pleasure. In the meantime, the present conveyance, by a gentlemen of my family going to Paris, is too safe to hazard a delay in making my acknowledgments for this mark of attention, and for having afforded to me a satisfaction, which the ordinary course of liter


ary communications could not have given me for a considerable time.

The differences of circumstance between this and the old countries of Europe, furnish differences of fact whereon to reason, in questions of political economy, and will consequently produce sometimes a difference of result. There, for instance, the quantity of food is fixed, or increasing in a slow and only arithmetical ratio, and the proportion is limited by the same ratio. Supernumerary births consequently add only to your mortality. Here the immense extent of uncultivated and fertile lands enables every one who will labor to marry young, and to raise a family of any size. Our food, then, may increase geometrically with our laborers, and our births, however multiplied, become effective. Again, there the best distribution of labor is supposed to be that which places the manufacturing hands alongside the agricultural ; so that the one part shall feed both, and the other part furnish both with clothes and other comforts. Would that be best here? Egoism and first appearances say yes. Or would it be better that all our laborers should be employed in agriculture ? In this case a double or treble portion of fertile lands would be brought into culture; a double or treble creation of food be produced, and its surplus go to nourish the now perishing births of Europe, who in return would manufacture and send us in exchange our clothes and other comforts. Morality listens to this, and so invariably do the laws of nature create our duties and interests, that when they seem to be at variance, we ought to suspect some fallacy in our reasonings. In solving this question, too, we should allow its just weight to the moral and physical preference of the agricultural, over the manufacturing, man. My occupations permit me only to ask questions. They deny me the time, if I had the information, to answer them. Perhaps, as worthy the attention of the anthor of the Traití d'Economie Politique, I shall find them answered in that work. If they are not, the reason will have been that you wrote for Europe; while I shall have asked them because I think for America. Accept, Sir, my respectful salutations, and assurances of great consideration.


WASHINGTON, February 17, 1804. DEAR Sir,- now return you the manuscript history of Bacon's rebellion, with many thanks for the communication, It is really a valuable morsel in the history of Virginia. That transaction is the more marked, as it was the only rebellion or insurrection which had ever taken place in the colony before the American Revolution. Neither its cause nor course have been well understood, the public records containing little on the subject. It is very long since I read the several histories of Virginia, but the impression remaining on my mind was not at all that which the writer gives ; and it is impossible to refuse assent to the candor and simplicity of history. I have taken the liberty of copying it, which has been the reason of the detention of it. I had an opportunity, too, of communicating it to a person who was just putting into the press a history of Virginia, but all in a situation to be corrected. I think it possible that among the ancient manuscripts 1 possess at Monticello, I may be able to trace the author. I shall endeavor to do it the first visit I make to that place, and if with success, I will do myself the pleasure of communicating it to you. From the public records there is no hope, as they were destroyed by the British, I believe, very completely, during their invasion of Virginia. Accept my salutations, and assurances of high consideration and respect.


February 19, 1804. Doctor Stevens having been sent by the preceding administration, in 1798, to St. Domingo, with the commission of consulgeneral, and also with authorities as an agent additional to the consular powers, under a stipulation that his expenses should be borne ; an account of these is now exhibited to the Secretary of


State, and the questions arise whether the payment can be authorized by the Executive, and out of what fund ?

The Constitution has made the Executive the organ for managing our intercourse with foreign nations. It authorizes him to appoint and receive ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls. The term minister being applicable to other agents as well as diplomatic, the constant practice of the government, considered as a commentary, established this broad meaning; and the public interest approves it ; because it would be extravagant to employ a diplomatic minister for a business which a mere rider would execute. The Executive being thus charged with the foreign intercourse, no law has undertaken to prescribe its specific duties. The permanent act of 1801, however, first, where he uses the agency of a minister plenipotentiary, or chargé, restricts him in the sums to be allowed for outfit, salary, return, and secretary; and second, when any law has appropriated a sum for the contingent expenses of foreign intercourse, leaves to his discretion to dispense with the exhibition of the vouchers of its expenditure in the public offices. Under these two standing provisions there is annually a sum appropriated for the expenses of intercourse with foreign nations. The purposes of the appropriation being expressed by the law, in terms as general as the duties are by the Constitution, the application of the money is left as much to the discretion of the Executive, as the performance of the duties, sąving always the provisions of 1801.

It is true that this appropriation is usually made on an estimate, given by the Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury, and by him reported to Congress. But Congress, aware that too minute a specification has its evil as well as a too general one, does not make the estimate a part of their law, but gives a sum in gross, trusting the Executive discretion for that year and that sum only; so in other departments, as of war for instance, the estimate of the Secretary specifies all the items of clothing, subsistence, pay, &c., of the army. And Congress throws this into such masses as they think best, to wit, a sum in gross for clothing, another for subsistence, a third for pay, &c., binding up the



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